The first agriculture exhibit in Buffalo County was not held in a barn. Nor was it held in a Quonset. The very foundation of what we know today to be the Buffalo County Fair began in a Downtown Kearney furniture store in 1875. Five years later, the Buffalo County Agriculture Society was formed. In 1880 the 1st Annual Buffalo County Fair was held in Shelton, approximately twenty miles east and north of Kearney. Four years later, the Buffalo County Agriculture Society decided by a strong majority to move the fair to Kearney. The ground that the Buffalo County Fairgrounds is still on today is the same ground that was purchased back in 1884.
The 4th Annual Buffalo County Fair held at its new site in Kearney had over 3,000 attendees. The Buffalo County Fair has only moved once for a few years since the 4th Annual Buffalo County Fair when a new site was purchased in the late 1880's. However, in 1893, the Buffalo County Agriculture Society discontinued due to financial problems and in 1913 a new organization, the Buffalo County Agriculture Association, was formed to take over responsibility of the Buffalo County Fairgrounds and moved the fair back to its former location. The Buffalo County Agriculture Association still oversees the fairgrounds' operations today.
Some of the buildings still standing at Buffalo County Fairgrounds have been around since close to the beginning. These buildings include the Pole Barn, the Stafford Arena, and the Small Animal Buildings. The Buffalo County Fairgrounds has also grown greatly since the beginning. In 1983 the Exhibit Building was built. This building was originally designed to stall cattle but now has a tennis court floor and is used for many purposes including sports, weddings, conferences, banquets, trade shows, etc. The Exhibit Building also contains the fair offices. The original Exposition Building was built in 1990 and the Ag Pavilion was added ten years later.
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